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“He hardly leaves you room to hit” – Toni Nadal on who between Federer and Djokovic is Rafa’s toughest opponent

Rafael Nadal with his uncle Toni
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal training under the watchful eyes of his uncle and coach Toni Nadal, back in 2017. (Getty Images)

Toni Nadal is the former coach and uncle of World No.2 Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, explained who between Djokovic and Federer is a bigger opponent for his nephew.

According to Toni, Serbian, and current World No.1 Novak Djokovic was Nadal’s toughest opponent. The 59-year-old was of the opinion that Nadal’s results against Djokovic gave a fair idea that the Serbian caused the Spaniard more problems than Federer.

Rafael Nadal with his uncle Toni
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal training under the watchful eyes of his uncle and coach Toni Nadal, back in 2017. (Getty Images)

“As the results indicate, Nole is Rafael’s toughest opponent. Because even if you play well, you never know how and when to attack him, he hardly leaves you room to hit,” Toni Nadal said during an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“On the other hand, Federer, although he is a phenomenon, has a clearer tactic and gives you more chances to hit,” he continued.

To date, Djokovic and Nadal have met each other 55 times, with the former having a 29-26 lead over the latter.

However, the Spanish tennis star has a considerable 24-16 lead against Swiss maestro and record 20 Grand Slam winner Federer.

According to Rafael Nadal's uncle and former coach, Novak Djokovic was his nephew's toughest opponent than Roger Federer.
According to Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Novak Djokovic was his nephew’s toughest opponent than Roger Federer. (Getty Images)

Toni also added that he was confident that his nephew and Djokovic will exceed Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slams in the nearby future. At the moment, Nadal trails Federer by just one title while Djokovic has 17 to his name.

“I think Rafael still has at least three or four years”

Meanwhile, Toni stated that Rafael still had three or four years of tennis left him and hoped that his nephew would continue to perform at the highest level after the coronavirus break.

“If the body and health help him, I think Rafael still has at least three or four years to continue to excel in tennis. Who knows if they will be more because this 2020 has allowed him not to force the body,” Toni said.

Rafael Nadal is the current World No.2 and winner of 19 Grand Slam titles.
Rafael Nadal is the current World No.2 and winner of 19 Grand Slam titles. (Getty Images)

Toni, who currently works at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain also added that it would be the older players – Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic, who will benefit the most from the hiatus.

The Spanish coach explained that the ‘Big Three’ had the experience of coming back from their injuries in their past and this would hold them in good stead compared to others when tennis season resumes once again.

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